Youth Forward Scholarship Winter 2018 – A Volunteer to Music

Name: Grace Eckstein
From: Temple, Georgia
Grade: 11
School: Temple High School
Votes: 0

three hours a week, I have the remarkable privilege of being able to
go to my local middle school and teach student musicians. For these
students, music is a very important because it gives them something
other than the stress of school to focus on; it is a stress outlet, a
social opportunity, and a lifelong talent. There are challenges to
teaching middle schoolers, but there are far many perks and rewards.

I started
volunteering at the middle school because of my schedule. I have two
classes at the high school each day and I have classes at the local
college a few days a week. I do not have college classes on Fridays
so I decided that instead of staying at home being unproductive, I
would go and help the middle school band kids advance musically. I
teach sixth, seventh, and eighth grade flutes, which means they are
still fairly new musicians. It is a great opportunity to be able to
influence children and make a difference in their lives.

Although it is a
great opportunity to impact younger people, it is also a bit
difficult. I am only a few years younger than them so they do not see
me as an adult and they also do not see me as an equal. It is the
awkward middle ground in between the two so they sometimes do not
know how to act around me and I sometimes do not know how to treat
them. Do I treat them as children or as equals? This is the biggest
challenge I face when volunteering with them.

My main
responsibility as a volunteer is doing all I can form the middle
school band kids into great musicians. I feel that I am doing a good
job doing this because several of my students made it into the
District Honor Band, the second highest honor a band student in
Georgia can be awarded. Out of 28 possible spots available, one of my
students placed fourth and another was fifth. It was so rewarding to
find out that the students I have been helping for months was
successful with my help. It let me know that my efforts were not

This position has
taught me several things. It taught me how to use my own experiences
and skills to help others; I use the things that my own flute
instructors taught me to teach my own pupils. I also learned about
patience. Working with new musicians can be a bt difficult because
they do not yet have musical habits. They do not yet have the skills
to play super fast or difficult pieces of music. This has taught me
that they cannot learn as quickly as I can so it is important to
learn how to slow down or even go back a go over the same material so
that the students can really learn it. Overall, I love teaching my
middle schoolers and love knowing I am making a difference.

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